Prosecutors to subpoena Trump hotel business records, United States News & Top Stories

05 Décembre, 2018, 12:36 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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Prosecutors in Maryland and Washington announced Tuesday subpoenas for the records of 13 private businesses owned by Donald Trump as part of an investigation into whether the U.S. president is illegally benefiting from his Washington hotel.

The Maryland attorney general's office confirmed the subpoena details to The Associated Press as they were being prepared on Tuesday.

Among 13 Trump business entities to be subpoenaed are the Trump Organization itself, several Trump International Hotels corporations and the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust.

In June 2017 Washington and Maryland filed suit, saying Trump was violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. constitution, which prohibits United States government officials from receiving gifts, payments or other valuable benefits from foreign governments and foreign officials.

The subpoenas focus on answering three questions: which foreign domestic governments are paying the Trump International Hotel in Washington, where that money is going and how the Trump hotel is affecting the hospitality industry in the District of Columbia and Maryland. The other Trump entities targeted include those related to the D.C. hotel and its management. Most of the records are being requested back to January 1, 2015. Judge Peter J. Messitte has rejected the Justice Department's arguments that the attorneys general lack legal standing to pursue the case, shooting down arguments that the emoluments clauses don't cover private business transactions. Neither the Trump Organization nor the White House immediately responded to a request for comment Tuesday.

Mr. Trump's Justice Department lawyers have previously argued that earnings from such business activity as hotels stays don't qualify as emoluments.

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A federal district court judge issued an order Monday agreeing to a schedule that wraps up discovery in early August, The Hill reported.

Similar suits in a Washington federal court and in NY have stalled, making this the first to proceed to the discovery stage, despite the best efforts of the Justice Department to block it. In February, the Trump Organization announced it had made its first such donation to the tune of $151,470.

They are also subpoenaing 18 companies that compete with the hotel, presumably in a bid to find out whether they've suffered by having to win business in a market where the president of the country owns a property. But tax returns for some of Trump's business entities, including the state and federal tax returns for the Trump Organization, are also being requested.

Mr. Trump, breaking with tradition, has declined to release his tax returns, citing an ongoing IRS audit. But on Tuesday, the Washington attorney general told ABC News that plaintiffs are "at this time ... not seeking information from President Trump in his individual capacity".

The state of ME is also targeted for a subpoena, likely because its governor, Republican Paul LePage, stayed at Trump's hotel in Washington when he had official business to conduct, including discussions with the president.

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